You Should Know About Scottsdale
Things to Do
La Hacienda Restaurant
Willow Stream Spa
The Four Seasons Resort
Things to Do
upscale Scottsdale, splat in the middle of Arizona’s strange Sonoran
desert, is a fast growing suburb of Phoenix that threatens to one day
become a little Mecca of art, commerce, shopping and generally damn good
living all on its own. Scottsdale is definitely and unapologetically an
oasis for people who insist
on being pampered. Hidden within the
spacious Scottsdale hive are fancy-schmancy resorts that exist only to
soothe your body and smooth your psyche and that’s alright with TUSAN.
those cactus plants around Scottsdale: world travelers though some of us
may be, we never cease to be amazed by cacti. They seem to be one part
cowboy reachin’ for the sky and one part extraterrestrial stranded on
this out-of-the-way planet.
Due to weird and caring local laws, there will appear odd
messages on your restaurant menus:
Warning: Local restaurants will attempt to put goat cheese on
anything they can. This could even be you.
There was goat cheese in the baked potatoes. There is goat
cheesecake. Maybe it's the mountains...do they have a lot of goats? Do
they think goat cheese is still sophisticated? It must be admitted: the
mozzarella's not that good out here.
They do wonderful curvy banquettes in Arizona. Grand and relaxing
to sprawl in.
The hotels do not appear to be unionized.
Although individual employees tell you they are well treated by
management, pay is low, public transportation is not up to the demands
of a city that is the USA's sixth largest, and there are signs
everywhere that management are not aware of the hardships employees
face. And employees, of course, will be the last to tell them. Good
health insurance plans are what hotel employees worry about the most.
This is an old story, best chronicled in the Barbara Ehrenreich
bestseller Nickled and Dimed. Traveller always recs that money be
left every day for the room cleaners, and to tip liberally.
It’s also good to know that Scottsdale resorts are constantly
upgrading and renovating. This game of duelling hotels can only benefit
sampled three of the area’s resorts. Each had its own vibe, integrity
and eccentricities. Each offers pampered living, laced with the kind
of opportunities for physical recreation that Traveler admires mostly
from afar. You’ll find lush, challenging golf courses, well-lit tennis
courts, fully-equipped fitness centers, hiking horseback riding and
splash and dash water fun. Each is both a romantic hideaway
and a haven for family fun.
Locals call the circa 1987
property “the Princess;” but Fairmont , which acquired and improved
it a couple of years ago would prefer that you please call it by its
full (see above) and proper name, thank you.
650-room resort is a AAA five diamond establishment and its Willow
Stream spa has been declared by Condé Nast Traveler to be one of
North America’s best spas. We have no intention of quibbling.
has rooms in both the Main Building and the Villas. Just about
you prefer, you’ll find relaxing and even splendid views. The scenery
includes gardens, a lake, courtyard, Princess Plaza or the golf course.
rooms are a lesson in gracious living. They are quietly opulent and generous
(comfy living area, spacious work area, defined dining area for that
room service touch, and, in homage to the song, big john, with separate
shower and oversized bathtub). And then there’s the patio
with a table and chairs. (He: Margarita, my dear? She: Don’t call me
The rooms come fully equipped with relaxing views.
adorable fireplace and an
adjustable CD player, each in its own way, set a mood. Put on the white
terry robe and enjoy a night off the town.
then there’s the outside. A walk through the spacious grounds of The
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort & Spa evokes memories of an
idealized southwest. The nearby McDowell
Mountains calm the eye. Sunlight
glances off the terracotta-hued Mexican colonial style architecture. The
building cupolas tell you that you’re welcome and that’s no cupola.
Exquisite landscaping with royal palms, majestic and flowering cacti,
shrubbery and blossoms soothe the spirit. And oh, was that a bunny
rabbit hopping through the bushes?
There’s water, water everywhere (metaphorically speaking.
After all, it is sitting on a desert) with five outdoor swimming pools,
including the Willow
Stream Spa’s Oasis Pool and the Sonoran Splash Pool and there are two
hot tubs. the new Sonoran Splash playground
comes complete with the two
longest resort water slides (186 ft. and 199 ft. long)
in the state of Arizona
find the Fairmont Fitness Center (not to be confused with the resort’s
Willow Stream Spa) near the South Pool. The center has all sorts of firm
’em up and work ’em out goodies such as squash court, half court
basketball, free weights, cybex recumbent, cybex upright, complete cybex
equipment circuit, medicine balls ,resistance
tubing ,jump ropes and mats. The center is the check-out location for
supplies for such activities as badminton,
water volleyball, bocce ball, ping pong, and croquet.
Fitness Center classes include forays into Yoga, morning fitness walk
and stretch, aqua aerobics and deep water training, and Pilates. And
there are Personal Training Services: “On The Ball,” “One-On-One
Yoga,” “In Deep Water,” and “Power
Up Your Golf.”
ici parle at the Fairmont. Guests have access to the nearby Tournament
Players Club. It boasts the par
71 Stadium Course (site of the annual PGA TOUR FBR Open) and the “more
lenient” Desert Course. Both
offer wonderful views and many opportunities for healthy outdoor
golf and you have to say Tennis. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offers
seven tennis courts (six have night lighting). The 6,300-seat Stadium
Court hosts the annual Arizona Men's Tennis Championships. (The upcoming
event is scheduled for 1 March-7 March, 2004.)
this healthy exercise talk makes us hungry. Fortunately there are
restaurants on the grounds. We ate in a honey of a hacienda.
open evening hours,480.585.4848
Hacienda is not just another Mexican restaurant. It is the Mexican
only Mex to win four stars and four
diamonds from Mobil and AAA respectively isn't in L.A., Texas, or New
York....it is here, in Scottsdale, and it's probably the
best Mexican restaurant in the USA right now.
we've slurped sangrias over many a silly afternoon at Marix in West
Hollywood, sneaked into that
dear, beloved Mexican deli, Gallegos in Santa Monica for organic
vegetarian corn tamales, gone
into swoons over organic guacamole in Agoura, and not once, but twice
been crushed, bewildered and deeply disappointed at Rosa Mexicano in
New York, where you'd think they'd
know better...or maybe they just don't care.
if you could only have one Mexican meal in America, or you're passing
through and can only eat only one grand dinner in Arizona, have it here.
Or fly here. And bring somebody. It's cozy and dark inside.
Start with cocktails. Be
brave. They’re unlike anything anywhere else. They may not turn out to
be your favourite flavours, but that's
the thrill. You won't get these
in London, Paris or Rome, or even the moon, where soon you will be after
tried the Prickly Pear Margarita,
pink and very sweet, Hindu sweet, to set off the prickly bits, we
suppose, and oddly pleasant. Too pleasant. Of all the Hacienda's special
libations, this one slips down nice and easy, and before you know it,
you'll be ready to buy a round for the whole stinkin', sorry, poor old
there is the specialite de la maison, er, casa, the
Hacienda Margarita. With this drink, you are in a deep earth tone
groove, as your baffled tongue sorts through the greenness and the
cactus flavours, and the citrus, lemon and lime, sweet and sour and
salt, yin and yang, love and death and one part dirty sneaker, an
acquired taste and one worth hurrying to acquire.
at La Hacienda is a deep ruby in a huge goblet. Was there perhaps a hint
This should have been the
pinnacle slurp of a lifetime, but it was distressingly sharp. Had its
edges been even a little more rounded , we might have ordered a pitcher
or two. Que lastima! Every sangria is different. every time you
make it We'll try again, manana
now it was showtime, the moment when you tell the staff no meat, fish or
anything with a face, please. No chicken or beef stock, either.
Vegetarians do this before ordering. We have to, or suffer unimaginable
bouts of the Aztec one-step later.
And it's fun to see what the kitchen comes up with, put them
through their paces/ Accordingly, vegetarian gourmets read menus rather
differently from the way carnivores do. The eye darts to the side dishes
and garnishes, noting unusual possibilities. But ultimately, one must
give up the menu and put oneself in the hands of the gods. And that is
Out came chef Andrew
Macdonald. We asked for vegetarian tasting plates. No problem. How were
we to know that he would be our spirit guide to a gourmet's divine
Valhalla? Roses to him!
off you shall go, on a halcyon Hacienda culinary adventure. Here's what
appeared, in no particular order.
basket of fresh little rolls and perfect warm tortillas with the best
salsa we’ve ever had, a medium dark brown and smoothed,
we suspect , by a bit of chocolate. The butter: a heavenly blend
of roasted garlic, cilantro and poblano chiles.
A vegetable flan. Horchata crepes. A salad of organic greens ,fine
strings of jicama and panella cheese, which is a Mexican mozzarella,
dressed in a perfect
pumpkin seed vinagrette
with lime and cilantro. Wild mushroom tart Snap peas. Haricot verts.
Calabacitas, a little baby kind of squash.Bulgar wheat pilaf with chilis
and a spicy flash-grilled tequila cornpote. (not sure about this last
- the cocktails were doing what cocktails are supposed to do, and
while forks were flying, our notes became alarmingly like Aztec
go back to La Hacienda soon for more fact-finding), pickled carrots,
Mexican white sweet potato casserole with breacs, a Mexican chili and
tomato sweet jam, and caramelized onions.
No one - there were four of us
- can remember dessert. But my notes say that the fffzswrquerrr was
very, very good.
want to live here, right under this table, for ever.
we recovered, we headed straight for the spa.
the Spa at
480.585.2732 or 800.908.9540
Stream is an awesome spa.
Willow Stream is a large, dazzling, superior spa.
makes a spa great? Ask any bedraggled - or, let's be frank - any
narcissistic, spoiled-rotten, demanding, jaded consumer what makes them
enjoy the spa experience. At the end of the day, it all bubbles down to
how it makes us feel. Anyone can slap a mask on your bumpy bod. But few
spas can wow you from brain to toe. Willow Stream does.
it the whoosh and wonder factor. Enter and you
feel as if you've stepped into a magic, modern, mystical
one-of-a-kind space. Well-thought-out architectural features are
designed to have an extremely exhilarating effect on your psyche.
these places have to have a New Agey, mystical theme. This one's the Havasupai (pronounced Hah-vah-so-pie), a
hidden oasis in the Grand Canyon. You know, fire, earth, air and water,
bla, bla, bla.
works. You've got a mesa rooftop pool with loungers for reading and
napping and private cabanas, where you can see the McDowell Mountains.
(Well, the mountains ain't so pretty in Scottsdale. You want mountains,
you go to Sedona. Mama!)
a sample of the delightfully, ridiculous, over-the-top, purple (I beg
your pardon. We meant crepuscular) prose from the spa literature. Try to
keep a straight face. And no drooling:
the Mesa the rhythmic flow of our Havasupai Waterfall cascades over the
red Sedona-hued stones to complement your journey through the spa. You
can relax in the Desert Oasis, or the open-air reflection atrium, or
experience the sheer joy of the waterfall’s energy. Many of our
treatment rooms have private outdoor patios, allowing for experiences
indoors or outdoors under the clear desert sky.
Willow Stream Suite is perfect for couples, mothers and daughters, or
girlfriends on a spa retreat. Guide your own experience in our Men's and
Women's Relaxation Areas, taking advantage of the multiple therapeutic
amenities, from the whirlpool to the eucalyptus steam room. "
the way, they have lots and lots of excellent massage therapists, who
are extremely well-vetted before being hired.
most pacific and beautiful, almost transcendent spots in the spa are the
little hot and cool pools, which are almost a magic healing temple in
the year 8000, and the eucalyptus inhalation room, which is like being
in a modern Egyptian meditation space while you clear out and calm the
lungs. And there's a steam room, and, and, and. and.
The lighting is lovely throughout. Men and women have separate
facilities but can meet in the middle at the pool and waterfall.
You can pick and choose and
customize what treatments you desire, and where and how they shall be
done. There are scrubs, body polishes, medicinal moor mud wraps,
chamomile gels, aromatherapy, loofah rubs, pumice stones, foot soaks,
gentle exfoliation, facials, rose hip oil, loosenings for muscles,
tension releasers, and infusions. Aryurvedic oils include sage, rosemary,
cinnamon and rose. Don't forget those hot rocks for stone massage. Lots
of treatments can be 60 or 90 minutes There's even a gold performance
treatment kinesiology, and a sports massage to enhance muscle recovery
for stress to move lactic acid out of the system (you may have a mild
soreness after, but it's heaven to get those little devils out of your
body. Also, there are pregnancy massage on a special table, Shiatsu ,
Reflexology on the feet and
hands, and they can add neck, face
and shoulders, loads of baths and wraps, and !thalasso KUR
You can bet this will cost you,. I don't want to think about it -
just rub me, rub me, rub me.
people who like such things, there's a fitness center with state of the
art equipment and specialty fitness programs, with
5-Diamond personalized training services. Do it solo or in a
class. Or not at all.
For more Fairmont info, click here.
The Four Seasons
Scottsdale at Troon North
East Crescent Moon Dr. 408.515.5700
a song of Four Seasons, a three-year old (opening day 22 December,
1999) establishment. It received the AAA Five Diamond Award soon
after opening. The resort’s design evokes a southwestern pueblo
village. The individual buildings are one, two and three-floor casitas.
Its casitas feel like individual retreats scattered about the property.
casita interiors are simple and understated without being plain or
austere. Not surprisingly, southwestern motifs prevail. The walls —
cream with just a blush of yellow — calm and cheer. You’ll see
Native American or Mexican patterns in the stone, tile, and fabric. They
are subtle but they resonate. Patio doors invite a step outside to drink
in the night air.
suites have fireplaces to banish the chill of the night and pump in
atmosphere. Champagne, my dear? A CD player is thoughtfully tucked into
the room so that milady shall have Kenny G wherever she goes — unless
she’d rather listen to music.
services include evening turn down (hopefully, the only one you'll
receive) ice delivery, stargazing constellation charts, dual line
phones, and, in all suites, telescopes. Spa lunch menus include organic
spinach and micro green salad, Portobello mushrooms melt, and wild
mushroom ravioli. (A note about Four Seasons dining. It’s okay. The
restaurants have pleasant decors. The views are excellent, day or
night. The menus are creditable. The service
is thoughtful and polite. There’s vegetarian stuff we can eat, and, of
course, a great number of things carnivores routinely do, as well as a
stunning selection of wines. But, for vegetarians, there’s no wow or
pow, let alone a biff, bam, boom. Waiter, there’s goat cheese in my
Pueblo comes complete with the kind of accessories that soothe the
frazzled spirit with sense and sensation. An attentive staff that cares
about your comfort and grace helps. So does its 12 thousand foot spa and
headed straight for the spa.
Four Seasons Spa
One particular joy at the Four Seasons Resort’s spa is its
“Massage 101,” a private class for couples in the art of giving (and
getting) a massage.
101 – How To Rub
Your Sweetie the Right Way
To be sure, a good part of this tutorial involves
getting rubbed. And that is good. Very good. Oh so good. Yeah that part.
Do it again.
But it is a genuine class. Our
instructor, Steve Ellis, brought a masterful – okay we’ll say it –
hands-on approach to his lesson. He manages to be both discreet (we are
dealing with body parts here) and direct (when messing with some one
else’s body certain principles must be followed depending on the body
part). A licensed masseuse for nine years, he previously ran weekend
couples massage seminars in Seattle. He teaches, explores and explains.
Because the 80-minute Massage 101 is not and does not pretend to be
“everything you could ever know about massage” Ellis seems to follow
three guiding principles.
He gives the very basic info you’ll need to give your partner a
satisfying massage (You’ll need the thumb, middle three fingers and
heel of your hand; how to move them and where to move them.)
He identifies the particular area where your partner needs and
deserves special rubbing attention – and how to do it.
He teaches that two-way communication really is an essential
element of a winning massage.
Ellis is an easy-to-understand and encouraging tutor. He seems to
take pride in creating a customized lesson that exactly fits the
individual needs of each student pair. And school never felt so good
not going to spend all that time on the massage table. Are you? Oh. Well
if you do manage to climb off, here are some other explosive
resort has a special, favored nation arrangement with the nearby golf
community, Troon North – home to residences, a spoil-em-rotten
clubhouse and the Pinnacle and Monument champion golf courses. Both
courses have been honored, celebrated and even written about by all
sorts of golf magazines. Golfers beware. The breathtaking views may make
you forget why you are there. Both courses are beautiful. Monument, the
older of the two, offers splendid desert views. When you come to, you
might want try out the tennis courts. There are four, two of which light
up at night.
staying in the Four Seasons, you can enjoy activities within the resort
well as in the surrounding Sonoran desert. The fitness center has
treadmills, StairMaster, recumbent bikes, upright bikes and eliptical
trainers. Those who like to accessorize will make smart use of which
pinches dumbbells the Zurich tubes exercise balls, step benches, jump
ropes and stretching mass. Classes are 45 minutes and they include warm
up, cool down, and stretch. Types of classes offered are our stretch,
that Pilates, cardio obstacle, hatha yoga, fit to call and total body
toning in. An exercise specialist takes advanced to intermediate hikers
on a guided tour of Pinnacle Peak.
Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
6902 East Greenway Parkway
always feel cleaner, slicker and shinier, more modern than other hotels,
and Traveller has a warm spot for clean hotels; have always preferred
them. This one even is even more so...the place opened in November 2002.
room: First we pick some nits. Uh oh. No CD player. No fireplace. One
robe for two people. No more fooling around. No C-SPAN on the telly.
Rough towels. Lots of note around the room telling you about how good
you'll think the $40 velour bath sheet feels---and there isn't one
anywhere in your bloody room. At these prices, you wish they'd stop
leaving signs around telling you how much they'd rather not wash your
towels every day---to save water of course----or pushing their $90
are back in the land of the grown-up business world Decor cold, and
corporate, and of course very clean, There is a reason for that
“taking care of business” look. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
is very much a player in the conference part of the business; but
Traveller cares little for such matters. We can note that that corporate
look will reassure business execs who are being dragged kicking and
screaming into a bona fide let it all hang out meltdown getaway.
there is an undertone to this look that is – if not downright
subversive – at least subliminally welcoming. It is what the Westin
people themselves call the “sense of Arizona.” The design materials
and art scattered throughout the property all resonate with Arizona aura
—wood, stone and fabrics with patterns derived from the cultures of
local Native Americans.
is a glitzy normal hotel with some fizzy whizz bang extras and excellent
convention facilities. The meeting rooms have wonderful names: Hall of
Discovery, Hall of Visionaries. Etc. And there is its glitzy
fresh and innovative Latin menu was created by chef Douglas Rodriguez of
New York’s Patria fame. The soothing, modern restaurant has an open
kitchen, where, if you like such things, you can see it all happen,
seated sushi bar style, or join the majority of diners who plump for the
banquettes and white table-cloths, with a view of the greens outside.
South and Central American food isn't what vegetarians think of first
when going out on the razzle for a little ‘sport dining’ — these
are meat and fish loving peoples. What a serendipitous opportunity, we
thought, to have master Chef de Cuisine Mark Dow cook up something
wine, we chose a red, a a soft but serious Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
Errazuriz Reserve 1998. The wine selection is nicely rounded, with wines
from Chile, Italy and even France, and includes a large selection of
California wines, which seem to be getting better (and pricier) by the
cocktails, there was a curiously refreshing Cuban mint julep, the Mojito
Cubano, made with Appleton rum, lime-mint, white cane sugar and soda.
The fresh, crushed dark
green mint rises up to meet one’s lips, fragrant and perfectly
.balanced, one’s own private and secret garden. Hey, greens are good
for you. Also, there was the Deseo Colada, a siren of a drink, made with
Myers dark rum, passion fruit juice, and coconut. This one is pure
Martin Denny: you are in the tropics, and soon you will be supplying
your own birdcalls. This lovely libation, a layered, custard-coloured
flan of a drink, is draped with looping lines of coconut; it is
sweet, delicious, and deadly.
health food was and is always first on our minds, and parked in a
champagne bucket near our table a bottle of Sole stood guard, a
sparkling mineral water imported from Italia. This apparently is the
Westin chain’s house
brand of water. In a place like Arizona, where the temperature in July
can reach 125 degrees Fahrenheit, this is big business.
then there was Food
came the Vegetable Arepas, scrumptious corn cakes topped with spinach,
fresh bits of tomato, and huge green capers, garlanded with crème
fraiche, accompanied by a basket of plantain chips and a typical
Colombian bread, pandebono, bland, round little rolls made from a
little mozzarella and a biscuit like batter.
Gloria's Black Bean Soup (Gloria is Douglas Rodriguez's
mama), served up
with a deeply satisfying croquette plopped into its middle, soaking up
the soup, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, made of asagio
cheese and cilantro.
then a pretty, crisp white hearts of palm salad arrived, in a shallot
and thyme vinaigrette with bleu cheese sauce and (oh well) goat cheese,
dates stuffed with almonds, a stack of jicama strips, egg white strips,
endive. Its textures –crunchy and soft and slidey – and sensations
– sweet and tangy –made one feel one was on an adventure.
entree was a proud Vegetable Napoleon, complete with a huge rosemary
feather in his Portobello mushroom cap. This is a stacked dish, with
layers of mushrooms, both red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, spinach,
mozzarella, roasted peppers and a grilled purple onion. It comes with a
heavenly quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wa" is actually a
Peruvian berry, but it feels and comforts like a starch.
word about high end desserts. American restaurants seem to operate under
the belief that the more huge and disgusting, gross, layered,
recombinant, X-treme and in your face the dessert is, the more the
public will go for it. How else to justify the $9 price tag? Most of the
dessert lists we saw in Scottsdale were completely unappealing. Deseo's
was the scariest, the over the toppiest in this category. Fortunately
Deseo’s desserts are far better than they sound. See what you think.
Here is the dessert menu:
Guava Goat Cheese Cake
with crème fraiche ice cream and poached prunes
Cafe Y Tabaco
white chocolate mousse ciger dipped in dark chocolate with dulce de
leche, coffee ice cream, and chocolate espuma.
cinnamon dusted donut sticks with dulce de leche and chocolate dipping
Tres Leches de Chocolate
served with orange sorbet and a strawberry gaspacho
with ice wine gelle, white grapes and almond cookies
After much deliberation and trepidation, we had churros a happy
surprise. The dippin’ donut sauce chocolate was deep` like blood,
and like wine. This is voodoo chocolate, aphrodisiacal like you
see in the film Like Water for Chocolate.
Traveller asked if it was a special chocolate, but they didn't
want to say. And who can blame them?
flan? It came, crowned and speared by a little lacy cookie. Let us just
say it was unremarkable. Call me a peasant, but I like a flan that
wiggles and shakes.
wait — there's more. The
flan came in a clear, eerie jelly, with thin translucent slices of
grapes, suspended like eavesdropping eyeballs looking back at you with
gelid glaze...this odd liquid landscape called out to my inner octopus,
or perhaps the little kid who loves rubbery toys, inner tubes, squishy
squeezy gooey yo-yos, and the like. Not for the squeamish, and my
colleagues at Taller would probably pass or scream, "Eeeauwwwwh!"
but hey, they ain't eyeballs, we do not consume sentient beings with
eyeballs, so forgive Traveller for revelling in a plate that returns
one’s affectionate gaze unflinchingly.....it was lovely to be looked
at by something that was not two over easy or tapioca. And after those mojitos,
I could swear it winked.
next day we headed straight for the spa.
The Arizona Spa
new (opened in November
2002), impeccably clean, as are all Westin enterprises, friendly,
intimate and rustic. Agave,
named for the cactus that is a extremely valuable local resource and
provider of tequila and mezcal, to name two, feels a little woodsy, with
all those local stone floor tiles, Southwestern style, and entirely
easy. Ranch-y, not raunchy.
is a small spa, with a rather comforting, middle-class suburban feel to
it. If you lived here, you might want to use it as your local health
club, and you could.... as long as you buy a treatment. For hotel
guests, it's $20 a day, which is rather a lot for using a steam room and
an ordinary little Jacuzzi. There are yoga and other fitness classes,
plus a sauna, and huge lovely rolls of towels, drinks, limeades, waters,
green tea, and even free Starbucks coffee (thank you) on offer. Agave's
looks are definitely a bit of a comedown after the Fairmont Princess
spa, but what isn't?
Here, the treatment is the thing. And small can be
beautiful, providing a more intimate and relaxing setting for healing.
And healing is what Agave offers, along with an array of wraps,
hydrotherapies, body buffs, aroma glows, many types of massages,
including couples, pregnancy and moisture surge massages. In fact, Agave
was the only spa we encountered that offered possibly the most deep and
ancient Chinese technique of Tui-Na massage, where they actually
massage your internal organs to free up your Chi and get your energy
Tui-Na is performed by Mary Houge, a
Scorpio massage master (she can do Swedish, Shiatsu, Sports
massage, Reflexology, etc) who seems to have x-ray eyes at the ends of
her gifted fingertips. She seems to be able to tell just what is bugging
your body and where it hurts.
I have never met a massage therapist who
had as much range of expression when giving a massage. Her fingers can
be very strong or a gentle as feathers. Like an orchestra, from the ting
of the triangle to the toot of the tuba, she has the full dynamic range
at her fingertips. When she
does the Chinese Tui-Na, her hands move in
strange, effective motions completely unfamiliar, as if her hands
were speaking another language,
is not your ordinary sort of massage; it is done in hospitals in China
and is felt to be deeply therapeutic.
Not your ordinary, Madame Bored-wants-a-back-rub sort of
treatment; I didn’t like it one bit, and wouldn’t have it again,
though I did feel lovely
afterward. Shiatsu and Swedish are more pleasant, without the
mumbo-jumbo of getting your organs squooshed. Mary also has her own
private practice, but is in much demand at Agave, so do book in advance.
also tried the Agave Moisturising Enchantment, and by chance had the
luck to be booked with Mary to do this one as well. First, your dry skin
is rubbed lightly and exfoliated, then slathered with a green goo,
(which consists of yucca, arnica, basil, and agave extract in a
Bentonite base) then you are entirely wrapped like a mummy in mylar, and
while you heat up like a baked potato in its foil, your head is massaged
with relaxing feathery touches. Shower off, and more massage, this time
with agave oil, which contains oils of vitamin E, hazelnut, and citrus,
plus agave extract. This one's quite fun, and your skin will be silky
is some wonderful writing in Agave's brochure that explains this spa's
style. It says:
the 1800s the population of Arizona was made up of cowboys, miners,
pioneers, Mexicans, Native Americans, and Chinese. All of the people
brought their own culture to this area and used their ingenuity to make
the best of it in this rough and inhospitable land. The miners and
cowboys had saddlebags full of determination and know-how. The Mexicans
had a wonderful array of spices and held trhe screts of tequila, which
comes from the agave. The Native Americans had great knowledge of the
lands and the spirits and used the agave for food, fibre sand medicine.
When the Chinese came to build the rails, they brought with them a
treasure chest full of healing remedies."
more about the Westin, click here.
A postscript: There is life beyond the resorts. And if you are
curious, antsy, adventurous, and/or sufficiently sated, you may want to
go shopping. Several malls should appeal to your inner consumer. They
Biltmore Fashion Park. Its more than 70 shops include
Saks Fifth Avenue , Macy's , Neiman Marcus , Gucci , Polo/Ralph Lauren ,
Cartier , Cole-Haan , Pottery Barn and
Escada.,(602)955-8401 or click
Fashion Park website
Borgata of Scottsdale For that14th Century Italian piazza in the Old West
experience. Sit and sip espresso or buy things at any of the 50 shops and
restaurants.(480) 998-1822 or surf to Borgata
of Scottsdale website.
Fashion Square It’s big (over 225 stores - count’em
– 225) and ever so chi-chi. Retailers include Dillard's, Nordstrom , Neiman Marcus , Robinson's-May ,
Nine West , Jessica McClintock , and J. Crew,. (480) 990-7800|
look forward to going back to Scottsdale and bringing you more news from
the front. In the meantime, would you like some goat cheese with those